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Cortical surface strain estimation using stereovision.

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Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


We present a completely noninvasive technique to estimate soft tissue surface strain by differentiating three-dimensional displacements obtained from optical flow motion tracking using stereo images. The implementation of the strain estimation algorithm was verified with simulated data and its application was illustrated in three open cranial neurosurgical cases, where cortical surface strain induced by arterial blood pressure pulsation was evaluated. Local least squares smoothing was applied to the displacement field prior to strain estimation to reduce the effect of noise during differentiation. Maximum principal strains (epsilon1) of up to 7% were found in the exposed cortical area on average, and the largest strains (up to -18%) occurred near the craniotomy rim with the majority of epsilon1 perpendicular to the boundary, indicating relative stretching along this direction. The technique offers a new approach for soft tissue strain estimation for the purpose of biomechanical characterization.

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